Prograis hopes to ‘give kids inspiration’ with fights in New Orleans

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NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans native Regis Prograis is the first Crescent City native in more than a half-century to be a boxing world champion.

“I’m always trying to give back to the community as much as I can,” Prograis said Tuesday at the Greater New Orleans Sports Foundation Quarterback Club presented by Home Bank at Rock ‘n’ Bowl.

Prograis eventually moved to Houston following Hurricane Katrina and found himself training next to Evander Holyfield.

“It gave me a whole lot of motivation and believed in myself,” Prograis said. “I want to give kids inspiration. When I lived here, I didn’t have that.”

Why hasn’t he moved back to his hometown?

“When I’m here, I eat the wrong stuff and party in the street,” he said. “That’s my biggest sacrifice, living six hours away.”

Prograis defeated Terry Flanagan by unanimous decision Oct. 27 at UNO Lakefront Arena in the quarterfinals of the Ali Trophy and will meet WBA super lightweight world champion Kiryl Relikh next in the semifinals – a fight Prograis hopes to have at Smoothie King Center early in 2018.

“Lakefront Arena is real good, but for the tourists, it’s on the outside (of town),” Prograis said.

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Lenny Vangilder

Lenny Vangilder

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Lenny was involved in college athletics starting in the early 1980s, when he began working Tulane University sporting events while still attending Archbishop Rummel High School. He continued that relationship as a student at Loyola University, where he graduated in 1987. For the next 11 years, Vangilder worked in the sports information offices at Southwestern Louisiana (now UL-Lafayette) and Tulane;…

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